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What? Eat in the Car?



When we got close to Stockholm, my family was talking so excited about the drive-thru McDonald’s.  It was a big deal to them and not a common part of their culture.  We pulled up and ordered at the window.  Then Papa pulled into a parking spot and we walked in and got the food and then ate at the table!  I tried to explain the point of drive-thru was to eat in the car. 

What?!  Eat in the car?!

The thought of eating in the car was so unbelievably gross and unnecessary.  If you’re going to eat, then you stop and you sit at a table and who cares if you’re in a rush and have to get somewhere.  I remember being like, wow, okay, I guess you’re right, it is kind of stupid.  Why would you want to pick up your food and eat it in the car when you could stop and sit and talk and socialize a bit and enjoy.  But for us it’s just normal.


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I wanted to defect



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I wanted to defect when it was time to come home.  But I’m really strong on agreements, and I agreed that I would come home.  (Laughter)  I’m still really strong on agreements but I was not ready to go.  I was not ready to go.  We all cried.  It was not something that we were ready to do.


Oh, my gosh, [those last days] were awful.  They were really awful.  We were running about getting a few pictures of things that I didn’t have.  Going to different friends and shaking hands or hugging and saying good-bye, and exchanging addresses.



English: The Ferris Wheel at Liseberg in Gothe...

English: The Ferris Wheel at Liseberg in Gothenburg, Sweden. Svenska: Pariserhjulet på Liseberg i Göteborg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



There was a dinner and everybody came to the airport.  The aunts, the uncles, the papa, the mama, the boyfriends of the girls.  And we just — it was really amazing, ’cause I was hanging out the train window and I didn’t want to let them go, and they disappeared, and it was awful.  It was awful.


But I came home and immediately got a lecture about the way I was dressed.  I wasn’t a wearing a bra.  I decided they weren’t necessary there.  I had a couple mini-skirts that were pretty doggone short, and when we stopped at the restaurant to have dinner when they picked me up, my dad swatted my rear end and said go put some pants on.


They found more self-confidence, both of them said.  I asked my mother about it when we were out to dinner a while ago, and I told her I was going to be cooperating with you on this, and she said “we saw a lot more self-confidence, and your dad learned to appreciate you.  He missed you –  a lot.”   So that was nice.

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Modesty on a Swedish beach

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The first day I got there, they asked me, “Would you like to go for a swim?”

So, of course, I went in my room and changed into my suit and put on a t-shirt and shorts and stuff, my towel.  I remember walking out and they were all standing there like they had been waiting, like, “What took you so long?

Landskrona Citadel, Sweden

Landskrona Citadel, Sweden, Image via Wikipedia

What?  I was just changing into my suit.  But you can probably see where this is going.  We walked down to the water, and they never, ever, ever change before!  Everybody just changes on the beach and not in a cabana or anything.  You just change right there without even really covering up.  So that was hard to get used to.

I remember being like, Ooh! That’s why they thought it took me a while!

And they thought that I was weird that I would want to change before I walked down, like, why would you do that? Of course you just bring your suit.

And they always changed right back into their clothes as soon as they got out of the water, right there on the beach.  You don’t go home in your sopping wet suit, of course, you just change into your clothes.  Why wouldn’t you? I mean, older people, younger people, the topless was everywhere, and that’s just normal.

Steve: Did you ever get used to that?

Shari: I never did it myself, I never got past it for myself.

My host sister, Lotta, would just parade around house just in underpants, and like sit there shaving her legs in the nude in the room and just be talking.  Dad would come in, and would ask her a question, and she would just say “Hi dad”, you know, whatever.  They just don’t even see it.  It’s not anything sexy or provocative.  It’s just normal.

So the modesty was hard.  It was a big shocker for me.

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a taste of Swedish food


Lots of fish — and I’m not a fish person but I ate fish. 

That’s where I learned to love yogurt.  And Swedish yogurt is much better than anything here in America.  Lingonberry sauce was really good.

They made some kind of sturgeon, and then my Swedish mother put mashed potatoes in the sturgeon and out the front and it browned on the top of it, and that was excellent.  I loved it.  Over there the ice cream is better, I believe.

French fries were a treat but I got them and I’d buy myself a big bottle of Coca-Cola once a week, and they didn’t like Coca-Cola.  That’s nasty stuff.  That was nasty stuff, but I could have it!

I learned to love Swedish apple pop — Pommac,  P-o-m-m-a-c.  And I sure wish I could find some ’cause that was good.  That was excellent.  I have had it once since I came home about ten years ago, and I haven’t been able to find it since.

They had another dish that was really good.  It was like hash called Pyttipanna diced roast beef and diced potatoes and I believe there was egg put into it.  And that was real good.  I liked that.  I wanted to have that quite often.

And there was a very fragrant sausage that was excellent too, and I don’t remember what kind.  But it was good with peanut butter and flat bread.  And they thought I was nuts ’cause I put peanut butter and sausage together but it was excellent.  It was good stuff.  Nice soft flat bread and smooth peanut butter on it and put this great sausage on the top of it.

Dang, that was like heaven!  It was wonderful!

I made a macaroni salad once.  And everybody liked it but my father.  He is not a fan of macaronis.  “I do not like macaronis but I will eat this because you made it.”

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